Challenger Center Welcomes New Board Leaders

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (December 2011) – Dr. Scott Parazynski, MD, chairman of Challenger Center for Space Science Education (Challenger Center), today announced the election of five new Board of Directors members. Elected to the board are Anousheh Ansari, Kent Rominger, Christopher Stott, Zak Williams and Susan Borland.

Anousheh Ansari, the world’s first female private space explorer and the first astronaut of Iranian descent, is a highly respected and successful entrepreneur and businesswoman. An active proponent of world-changing technologies and social entrepreneurship, she is co-founder and chairman of Prodea Systems and a title sponsor of the Ansari X Prize, which helped launch the emerging era in private spaceflight.

Kent Rominger is Vice President in Business Development with ATK Aerospace Systems and the Program Manager for the Liberty Launch Vehicle program. Rominger is a former Chief of the NASA Astronaut Office, Space Shuttle commander, five-time Space Shuttle astronaut and a Navy fighter pilot. He is a member of the Association of Space Explorers, the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Association of Naval Aviation, and the Chi Epsilon Civil Engineering Society.

Christopher Stott is President and Chief Executive Officer of ManSat Limited, which he co-founded in 2003 and built into one of the world’s leading firms specializing in orbital spectrum and satellite system development. Prior to founding ManSat, Stott was Director of International Commercialization & Sales with Lockheed Martin Space Operations and before that with the Boeing Space & Communications Company. Stott is a published Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, an invited member of the International Institute of Space Law and a founder member of the British Space Education Council.

Zak Williams is an entrepreneur and branding and marketing consultant with Moon Express, a commercial lunar lander company; Aeolis Wind, a Canadian wind farm company; Blue Fuel Energy, a biofuel company; GEM Strategy, a mobile technology strategy firm; Paddle 8, an on-line art sales platform; and Chefs Corps, a nutritional education initiative.

Susan Borland is Education Manager for Challenger Learning Center, Tallahassee, FL, the K-12 outreach facility of the Florida A&M University – Florida State University College of Engineering. Borland brings more than 20 years of non-profit management and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education experience to her new leadership role as the At-Large member of the Board, representing Challenger Center’s international network of 47 Challenger Learning Centers.

“We are delighted to have this distinguished group of leaders join our board,” said Dr. Scott Parazynski, chairman of the Challenger Center’s board of directors and a former NASA astronaut. “They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in the aerospace, space science, business, non-profit and education sectors. Their expertise will be of great value to the significant expansion of our STEM education mission now underway and in our ongoing work with our international network of Challenger Learning Centers.”

“The Challenger Center family is proud of its accomplishments over the last 25 years, but our greatest achievements are yet to come,” said Parazynski. “The selection of these talented Board leaders signifies that Challenger Center will play an even greater role in ensuring America’s dominance in science, engineering, and innovation.”

“Inspiration, education, innovation, and leadership are hallmarks of our nation greatness, and motivation driving Challenger Center forward as one of our country’s premier and most effective STEM education organizations,” said Lance Bush, Challenger Center President and CEO. “I look forward to working with these leaders and the other members of our Board of Directors to strengthen our nation’s future success by building and applying the scientific knowledge that drives innovation, industry, and the human spirit, all of which starts with our school children.”

Based on Challenger Center’s new five-year strategic plan, the organization is expanding its widely-heralded immersive, hands-on spaceflight simulations offered at its 47 Challenger Learning Centers. While the current missions will continue to be hallmarks of the student experience, Challenger Center will create new missions and technologies to address the future of space exploration and the Next Generation Science Standards.

“Challenger Center’s future will be built upon its existing partnerships with the education community and the aerospace and technology industries and among its new strategic partners,” said Parazynski. “With private sector support, it will ensure its missions and learning activities continue to introduce students to state-of-the-art space science. It also will increase awareness of its services among students, teachers and parents, and bolster the capacities of its Challenger Learning Centers for engaging and exciting children about exploration — on and off the planet.”